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Areas of Expertise

STEM/Career-Technical Education

CORD has led hundreds of curriculum projects spanning mathematics, science, and technical disciplines. Contextual, workplace examples and hands-on activities are common features across all of our curricula. Below are just a few example initiatives.

STEM Transitions

Through STEM Transitions, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, CORD led the development of 61 integrated curriculum projects for use in math, science, and technical courses in six STEM-related career clusters. Described as integrated projects because they blend math and science instruction within the context of disciplines such as health science, information technology, manufacturing, transportation/logistics, and agriculture/natural resources, the STEM Transitions instructional materials are intended to motivate students to explore and pursue STEM-related careers in addition to demonstrating the relevance of STEM concepts to our everyday lives. The projects revolve around industry scenarios, involve teamwork, and build critical thinking skills. Learn more ...

Teaching Teamwork

In this National Science Foundation-Advanced Technological Education project, our goal is to teach electronics students how to work effectively in teams, and by monitoring and analyzing their actions to find ways to assess the contributions of each team member. Students work on realistic simulations of electronic components and circuit boards that are linked together over the Internet. The project addresses the mismatch between the value of teamwork in the modern STEM workplace and the difficulty of teaching students to collaborate while also evaluating them individually. In collaboration with our partners at The Concord Consortium, Tidewater Community College and ETS, we are teaching electronics students how to work effectively in teams, both face-to-face and remotely. Learn more ...

Measuring Collaboration in Complex Computerized Assessments (MC3PA)

The National Science Foundation has funded several prior research projects that simulated electronics tasks and recorded student actions during the process. Most recently, the simulations focused on collaborative work by three separated students tasked with jointly solving such an electronics problem (involving breadboards, resistors, and multimeters), logging almost every action and intercommunication by students, and yielded millions of data points with which one could hope to analyze and model the role of collaboration in learning. The MC3PA project, led by ETS in cooperation with CORD, The Concord Consortium, and Tidewater Community College, is developing algorithms to do just that: using this recent project’s simulation engine to collect very granular data from hundreds of students, attempting to diagnose collaborative problem-solving actions and create useful diagnostic student profiles. The project will share these cutting-edge modeling, measurement, and data analysis methods with other practitioners and researchers for possible application to collaborative learning in other areas of study.

Energy Industry Fundamentals

Under contract to the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), CORD developed Energy Industry Fundamentals for use in training programs for both youth and adults. The seven-module course provides a broad understanding of the electric and natural gas utility industry and the energy generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. Students who complete the course through an approved provider and pass a comprehensive assessment are eligible to receive the Energy Industry Fundamentals Certificate. CEWD has received ANSI accreditation for the certificate program which aims to ensure potential workers gain an understanding of the energy industry as a prerequisite to occupation-specific training. Course development was made possible through CEWD’s Get into Energy Career Pathways program. Learn more ...

Tennessee Career and Technical Education Course Revisions

Under contract to the Tennessee Department of Education’s Division of Career and Technical Education, CORD’s curriculum team led the revision of 60 career-technical courses in multiple career clusters, including revising course standards to incorporate the Common Core State Standards and industry expectations. CORD also provided technical support for state staff and developed textbook review rubrics to support implementation of the revised standards.

Hawai’i Excellence through Science and Technology (HiEST) Academy

The HiEST Academy was part of a state initiative to engage more students in school-based activities and programs designed to improve their mathematics and science skills and increase the readiness and motivation of Hawai’i high school graduates to pursue postsecondary training and career options in STEM and related disciplines. CORD developed contextually based math and science instructional materials for grades 9 and 10 aligned to Hawai’i’s academic standards. Customized science textbooks were developed in physical science and biology in addition to online projects for contextual biology. Professional development for Academy teachers was provided on contextual teaching strategies and discipline-specific topics to support implementation.

Contextual Math and Science Curriculum

For decades, CORD was best known for its contextual academic curriculum series that taught math and science in workplace contexts – CORD Applied Mathematics, Principles of Technology, and Applications in Biology/Chemistry, developed in partnership with a consortium of state education agencies. Today, CORD’s instructional methodology of teaching academic content through workplace examples and hands-on activities continues to thrive. Learn more about our contextual math and science materials for high school students.